HOUSTON – Samantha Chaiken and Holly Hargreaves scored first half goals and goalkeeper Zoe Pochobradsky registered a complete game shutout to help lift the Owls’ soccer team to a 2-0 Conference USA victory over visiting UAB Friday evening in Houston.
Rice made the most on one of its two corner kicks in the first half. In the 26th minute Lauren Hughes lined a sharp corner-ball past some traffic to the back side of the keeper’s box. She had not one but two targets, Chaiken and Jasmine Isokpunwu, to choose from as they both elevated above the fray. Either one of them could have been the one to break the seal on the scoring, but it was Chaiken by a nose (literally) that found the back of the Blazers’ net for a 1-0 Owl lead.
The goal was Chaiken’s second of the season, both of which would prove to be game-winners and both coming in just the last three games. Hughes meanwhile broke a tie to take over sole possession of the school record for assists in a single-season with 10. The assist was also the 28th for Hughes at Rice, breaking her own school career record.
With UAB playing determined and forward, the Owls still felt the need for some insurance on the scoreboard. In the 32nd minute, Jenny Fichera brought the ball down the right wing and had the full attention of the Blazer defenders after just missing on two shots earlier in the period. This time instead of shooting, Fichera crossed sharply in front of the goal where Hargreaves’ header quickly doubled the margin to 2-0. Hargreaves has been playing well as of late, scoring in back-to-back Rice wins and logging her third goal of 2015.
The Blue & Gray had two goals in a 20-8 advantage in shots, and were particularly close on two other attempts. Rice twice hit the crossbar on shots in the 36th and 77th minutes. Crossbar or not, Pochobradsky made the 2-0 margin stand. The junior from Cincinnati finished with a pair of saves and her fourth complete game shutout.
With the win Rice improved to 9-5-1 overall and 5-2-0 in conference action to total 15 points in the C-USA standings. UAB is now 2-11-1 on the season and 1-5-1 in the league.
The Owls conclude the weekend homestand on Sunday (Oct. 18). Rice hosts Middle Tennessee in a C-USA match at 1 pm.